Too Often Misunderstandings Cause Us to Do the Wrong Thing

It’s Important to Ask Questions Outside Your Internal Perspective Box

Asking questions is the best way to get a clear understanding. Too often we assume things and don’t take time to ask questions. Questions are the only way to get past misunderstandings.

Have you ever felt misunderstood?

This is a question Norm Williams a Readers Digest contributor had when he was searching the library for two books by communications expert Deborah Tannen. It turned into an Abbott and Costello comedy routine.

“What’s the first book?” the librarian asked.

That’s Not What I Meant,” I said.

“Well, what did you mean?”

“That’s the title of the book,” I explained.

“Okay,” she said, looking at me a little skeptically. “And the other book?”

You Just Don’t Understand.”

“Excuse me?”

I got both books. Eventually.

When it comes to clear communication, even the experts can have trouble. Don’t give up! Hang in there. Work through it. Communication is key to a healthy relationship. And remember in the process, it is more important to understand than to be understood.

“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion” (Proverbs 18:2).

Clarity doesn’t mean we will agree, but it gives us understanding.

In Acts 9:1-6, Saul got some clarity. He was on the road to Damascus to find and kill followers of Christ. He was passionate about this. He was certain he was doing the right thing…until a bright light from heaven surrounded him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say, “Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute Me?”

“Who are you?” asked Saul.

“I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now get up, go into the city where you will be told what to do.”

And boy did he ever. He became Paul and changed his mission.

Saul’s faith wasn’t in God, it was in the misunderstanding of who God is.

A Jewish father was very troubled by his son wanting to become a Christian and went to see his rabbi about it.

“Rabbi, I brought him up in the faith. Then he tells me last week, he’s decided to be a Christian. Rabbi, where did I go wrong?”

The rabbi says, “Funny you should ask that. I too, brought up my son as a boy of faith and then one day he comes to me and tells me he wants to be a Christian.”

“What did you do?” asked the man of the rabbi.

“I turned to God for the answer,” replied the rabbi.

“What did He say?” asked the man.

He said, “Funny you should ask that…”

Too often we focus on the laws rather than the love.

“You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do” – Anne Lamott

Hate makes Satan’s job a lot easier and there is a lot of hate out there.

Katherine Thacker needed a healthy outlet and she found it.

Her mind was obsessed with hateful thoughts directed toward the suspect who killed her father, a cop, while he was on duty. Forgiveness was out of the question.

“I started writing very angry letters to the man who killed my dad and expressed my hurt.” “But not only did I express my hurt, I also expressed what I wished could happen to him. And they were really really hateful.”

Broken in spirit, she turned away from God.

“Why did God let my dad die?” she asked. “If God’s good, why did He let the man who killed my dad do this?”

Her distancing from God continued until she went to a week-long summer Christian camp.

Slowly but surely, she began to unbuild, brick by brick, the wall she had erected to keep God out of her life.

“I assumed that if I built up this wall, God would be long gone. He’d be so far gone,” she recalls. “I realized that when I took it down and He was still right there. He didn’t leave or walk away.”

Katherine became a Christian and realized she must forgive her dad’s killer.

“My anger was consuming my thoughts, consuming my heart. It was blocking out parts of my heart that God could easily fill up,” she says. “So I ended up, through a lot of prayer, able to fully forgive the man who killed my dad. I hold no grudge against him. He can experience God’s forgiveness too, because he’s a sinful human just like me.”

Katherine stopped writing hateful letters that she never sent to the murderer. Instead, she started writing letters to the bereaved families of fallen policemen.

The power of forgiveness brought healing to her heart and a blessing to many others.

What kind of God do you believe God is?

Who is Jesus and how does He expect His followers to live?

Lord, what do you want me to do?

When our mission is aligned with Christ’s heart then our lives will have an eternal impact

Poor Communication is the Number One Reason for Disagreements

Avoid Disagreements by Going the Extra Mile to Achieve Clarity

As I stepped out of my comfort zone this week and prepared the proposal for VB Homes’ “construction proposal system”, I was reminded of the importance of communication.

As I worked on this proposal, I considered reasons for them needing this system and it reminded me of the importance of good communication. The consequences of poor communication are huge.

An excerpt of a previous post from August 2016


Over the last few days, I was reminded of how important good communication is.

Two separate instances have come to my attention confirming this.

One situation is of a customer who had been given a price for a project and then after the project was started (concrete was poured) found out the price for the project was more than they were told. This caused some real problems for both sides.

The second was someone who had a project done with no written agreement. Once the project was almost completed there were some quality issues. This left both the customer and the contractor in a place where they felt cheated. The contractor billed for work done but wasn’t getting paid. The customer felt that the work was below standard and couldn’t get the contractor to come back and fix it.

As is usually the case there were extenuating circumstances in both situations and both sides had legitimate viewpoints.

Both projects would have had less problems had there been clearer communication from the beginning.

It has been my experience that there are differing opinions on how much detail should be included in the communication between customer and contractor. The bottom line is that it needs to be enough so that all parties involved know what to expect.

Rarely have I known small to midsized contractors to spend the time and effort to include very many details.

I understand, it takes time. The question we should ask is this…

Is it better to spend the time communicating before the project starts or wait until there’s a problem and everybody’s upset?

On the other side there is the possibility of too much information and the customer being confused and feeling lost (I know, it’s hard to believe that I just wrote that).

Often large commercial contracting firms and architects do this. I recently was aware of a commercial project that the communication was overly complicated. There were forty-one pages of drawings and a spec book over 1” thick and it wasn’t that big of a project.

With all that information the customer was overwhelmed and unclear about the project. Don’t get me wrong I like details and information. I think it is essential to good communication. The problem is that if it’s too complicated the customer still is uniformed and lost. This is still poor communication.

Ultimately proposals should be about helping customers know what to expect and get their dream project done.

I have lost count of the number of times that I’ve heard customers say that a building project was the worst experience they ever had. How sad is this?

They were excited and looking forward to having some new project done and then they are left with feelings of regret. I think there’s a balance between the two extremes.

This is where the real challenge is, finding the sweet spot for all involved.

There is a lot to consider when it comes to good communication, but the first thing is, ask questions and listen to the answers. As a contractor, don’t go into a project with your preconceived ideas of what the customer wants.

Find out what THEY want and HELP THEM BUILD IT.


Hopefully the proposal sent to VB Homes was clear and understandable and gives them a clear picture of what to expect.

What You Treasure the Most is Where Your Focus Will Be

Lack of Clarity About This Comes with a High Price Tag

Most of us have heard the story about the rich man unwilling to sell his possessions and give the money to the poor. Mark 10:17-27 This story often leads people to a misunderstanding of what God is asking of us. It’s not that God is against us being wealthy.

It’s about what’s most important to us.

This man’s focus was on his worldly wealth, not God. He had kept all the rules and regulations. But Jesus knew where his heart was. That’s why He tested him with this.

There are plenty of examples of wealthy people doing God’s work that aren’t asked to give up their worldly possessions.

It’s about where our focus is. Is it on the world or God?

Having spent our lives in the world it only makes sense that the world would be our point of reference.

Being rich is so much more than just monetary. Rich is also having a high value or quality. Being well supplied or endowed. This sounds a lot like something God would want us to have and would give us. He has given each of us a high value and qualities. It’s up to us to be focused and spend them wisely.

Having possessions isn’t limited to worldly possessions. Possessions are things possessed. We have been given so much more than just worldly things. We can possess skills, abilities, talents, insight, understanding, thoughts, ideas, etc. It’s our responsibility to use these possessions in the way the Giver intended.

The cost to being unclear about what we should be focused on first and foremost is expensive…just ask the rich young ruler.

We live in a time where we have more things clamoring for our attention than any other time in history. So many of these noisy things just pull our focus away from what’s matters most.

Like talking pants.

Everybody needs pants that tell them when they aren’t zipped up. Right? How novel. It is easy to be pulled away from the things most important. Don’t get me wrong…there are a lot of really fun and interesting gadgets and gizmos out there, and there’s nothing wrong with gadgets and gizmos. We just need to be clear about what our focus is on.

We can choose where our focus will be.

What will you focus on?

What is Your Mission and Why Does it Matter?

It’s the Most Important Thing to Turning Your Dreams into Reality

I’m currently going through Business Made Simple University’s online course Mission Statement Made Simple. I’ve gone through this course before but,

I don’t think you can ever be too clear about your mission.

This time I’m going through it with a mastermind friend. This gives us both the opportunity to get outside perspectives. Alternate viewpoints are a huge help to getting the mission honed to laser clarity.

A clear mission is what gives you clarity of direction and purpose. It is the filter that all your business decisions should be ran through.

A mission is a clear direction for overcoming a conflict that is causing havoc in the world.

Over the past several weeks I’ve had numerous conversations with people struggling with clarity. I know how difficult and overwhelming this uncertainty can be.

As entrepreneurs, the responsibility of having a clear mission rests on our shoulders…should we do this or should we do that? When we’re employed by someone else, we just show up and do what we’re told.

This is why in most cases there’s so much discontent of employees working in large companies…there’s no clear mission.

Without a clear mission we just wander through life with no purpose.

How do you determine what your mission is?

This seems to be the most difficult question and one in which the answer continues to be refined every day. We are all given natural abilities and things we are drawn to. For example, I have no skills or desires to be a brain surgeon, a dentist or a teacher and trust me you’re better off because I’m not.

One thing that is a determining factor if you’re fulfilling your mission is if you love what you do.

Do you look forward everyday to getting to work and have to force yourself to stop at the end of the day. Granted there are varying degrees of this based on different personalities, but if you don’t love what you do…it’s not in alignment with your purpose.

I think there is a specific core purpose that goes beyond our vocation. I think this core purpose can be put to use in different businesses or ministries.

My purpose is to help people find solutions for building their dream business, construction project and life. With this foundational purpose my mission can change over time.

I love what I do and can’t imagine doing anything else.

Whether it’s my current mission to help construction companies struggling with a lack of business knowledge and customers who don’t understand or know what to expect from the construction process. Helping both accomplish their dreams, by providing businesses with systems and training to make their companies more efficient and profitable while educating customers in what to expect throughout the entire construction process.

Or my future mission with a NASCAR team. 😊 This is me turning my dreams into reality.

The important thing is to know yourself, search your heart and be connected to your Maker. The more you do this, the clearer the picture becomes. Having a clear mission moves your dreams towards reality.

Over the next few weeks, as we go through the rest of Mission Statement Made Simple, I’ll share other aspects of having a clear mission, i.e., key characteristics needed, critical actions taken by people in alignment with the mission and how to clearly share your mission with others.

There’s Enough Time to Do Everything You Should

You Can Do Anything You Want, You Just Can’t Do Everything

There are so many things to do and never enough time to do them all. This a common battle. The problem isn’t time it’s the long list of things we’re attempting to do.

We’ve been given enough time to do everything we are supposed to. God built the world and everything in it in six days. We’ve been given those same six days. Granted, building the world is a lot…we just need to remember that we’re not God.

The key is getting clarity about what we are and aren’t supposed to do.

Deciding what things we’re supposed do is the real fight. Especially for people with a servant’s heart. There are so many important and valuable things that need to be done and we want to do them all.

It’s not our responsibility to do everything.

I struggle with knowing what I should do and what to say no to, but I continually improve. My system for planning and scheduling is huge for helping me with this. Over the past six weeks I’ve written about how I schedule and plan what I will do.

  • How to Get Control of Your Life – There’s no simple, one size fits all, magic app for tracking things and budgeting time. You need to find or design a system that works for you.
  • Writing it Down Makes it More Real – It is easy to find ourselves drifting. We need a clear path to a target. When it is written down, I’m more accountable to myself.
  • How I Use Outlook to be Better Organized – Allotting time to things that are on the list gives a time parameter each task will need. It increases the focus for completing them and gives a visual of the progress.
  • Putting the Right Pieces in the Right Places – Even though multi-tasking has been a popular idea; I would argue that we can’t do focused work on more than one thing at a time. Pick one piece and focus on putting it in place.

The real struggle with scheduling and planning is in prioritizing.

This is the tricky part. What is the most important thing I should do and when? The way I’ve been able to determine this is to ask my CEO (God) and board of directors (the people close to me that I trust). If you will ask, you will get clarity. Satan loves keeping us confused.

The more unclear we are about our direction the less we accomplish.

Clarity is a process, not the magic snap of fingers. Opening our mind to the right directions and taking action moves us toward achieving the things that we were put here for. This is not an easy process, but one that’s worth all the effort required.

You have plenty of time to do everything you’re supposed to do. Not everything you want to do. Having a system for planning and scheduling will make the process easier and relieve some of the pressure.

How Important Are the Words We Use to the Clarity of Our Message?

I Would Really Like an Answer to This Question!

I’ve written about the importance of providing clear communication with customers through construction proposals in previous posts. Here are a few of them:

            The Bulk of the Communication Responsibility Lies on the Contractor

            How to Build a Better Proposal

            An Overview of the Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal

            How to Make Sure You Don’t Overlook Something

            How to Prepare a Scope of Work for a Construction Project

            How to Price a Construction Project Proposal

            How to Put the Pieces of the Construction Proposal Together

We’re currently working on a free downloadable document to help construction contractors avoid common mistakes made when giving customers a price for doing a construction project. I’ve employed the help of some professional digital markers to help me with this. The question that I have has to do with the words used.

I have a first draft written by one of them based on some of my previous writing. At first read I loved it. Then I began to wonder if it was too much for contractors. Will they understand it? As we have continued to work through the digital marketing process it was discussed with others. In every instance there were suggested changes.

Now I’m more confused than ever.

I know that I tend to make things more difficult than they need to be so…I thought I would put a couple of side by side excerpts from the draft and some of the suggestions and let you tell me which you think is clearer and more understandable from a contractor’s perspective…or if I’m once again making this too complicated.


Excerpt 1A:

The 7 Mistakes Contractors Make That Cost Them a Fortune — and How to Avoid Them.

While a lot of construction businesses are really great at providing good services, they get hamstrung by the business side of things.

If you’re like most small to medium sized construction companies, you learned a specific craft that you like doing – and at some point, you decided to start your own business.

If you’re like me, you probably got into this because you’re good at building things…not because you felt like you needed to be an expert in business. In fact, I believe as a contractor you shouldn’t need to get a masters in business to do good work – or have a thriving business that you love.


Excerpt 1B:

The 7 Mistakes Most Contractors Make When Doing Construction Proposals — and How to Avoid Them.

While a lot of construction companies are great at “constructing”, they’re overwhelmed by the business side of things.

If you’re like most small to medium sized construction companies, you learned a construction trade that you like doing – and at some point, decided to start your own business.

If you’re like me, you probably got into this because you like building things…not necessarily to run a business. In fact, I believe as a contractor you shouldn’t need a master’s degree in business to be successful.

Excerpt 2A:

#1: Your customers lack clarity

Confusion is your number one enemy. Crystal clear communication with your customers is critical to your success. And that might sound like a no brainer, or that it’s easier said than done…but this is the biggest failing point in most construction businesses.


Excerpt 2B:

#1: Your customers lack clarity

Confusion is your number one enemy. Crystal clear communication with your customers is critical to your success. That might sound like a no brainer…but this is the point at which most construction businesses fail.

I realize that not all of you who will read this are contractors. That’s okay, I would still appreciate your input in the comments below. If you know some contractors, please forward this to them so that they can give me their perspective.

Any and all feedback will be helpful!

Thanks!

It’s Hard to Remember That Not Everyone Gets It Like I Do

We Have to Look at it From Their Perspective

We are so close to who we are and what we know that when we’re communicating with others, we assume they understand. This is not the case. Most of the time when we’re talking about that thing we do…they’re overwhelmed.

We need to sperate ourselves from our calling if we’re going to communicate clearly.

We forget, or don’t even know, that what seems so basic and simple to us, isn’t to them. We’ve all been made with a specific unique gift, one that only we have. Sure, as many people as there are, there’s overlap. I’m not the only construction contractor in the whole world. I am however, the only one who does it the way that I do it.

This situation has become evident in several different situations recently.

Last week I wrote about my preparing to work with Bryan Switalski with Clarity Consulting. After our meeting I was feeling more overwhelmed than before. I was questioning if I had what it was going to take to do the digital marketing thing.

The next day was our weekly mastermind meeting. As I listened to the others in the group share their frustrations in connecting with the people who they knew would benefit from their knowledge or products. In my mind I was saying “Amen, preach it.”

Often before when listening to the group I would feel overwhelmed and inadequate. Listening to them I thought I was in way over my head. They would use terms that I didn’t know or understand. What struck me the most this day was how I realized that they’re struggling with the same struggles I am.

Then the light bulb came on. They, like me, were too close to their calling.

Their struggle, like mine, is the need to step back and look at this from the customer’s perspective. Over the years I’ve figured out how to do this with my construction customers without even knowing I was doing it.

This was confirmed the next day when I met with some potential customers for the third time. As we reviewed the floorplan of the remodeling project, they had questions. As we discussed the project more, I became aware of additional information that helped guide the direction of the project. Now we’re heading in the direction moving them toward their dream.

Too often contractors wouldn’t meet this many times or listen this much. Too often customers would just presume that the first plan was the only plan and this is as close to their dream as they’re going to get.

Now if I can learn to do this same thing with coaching and consulting customers.

After meeting with the construction customers, I began to think about my meeting with Bryan. As a customer I didn’t feel that I had given him enough information to do his job. I was feeling that “lost and overwhelmed customer feeling”. I sent him an email apologizing for my earlier rambling when we met.

Later that same day I received a response with a 10 minute recorded video explanation of the plan and how the parts will fit together, more details, a reiterated short list of what he needs from me and the reassurance that this project will be great when we’re done.

I’m sure Bryan was thinking, this is so simple and easy, but he never hinted to that. That’s what we professionals do when we’re working in our called vocation.

It’s hard to remember that they don’t get it like we do and to view the project from their perspective.

Now I need to separate myself from my calling and come up with a list of reasons that construction contractors need to make better proposals.

I Need to Focus on What I Know How to Do

And I Don’t Know How to Do Everything

You’ve probably heard it said, “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.” I have to remind myself of this often. I get started doing something a certain way and it’s hard to change directions.

We are creatures of habit.

My tendency is to try and do everything myself. I think this is a combination of who I am and my upbringing. Growing up on a farm if it needed done…we did it. This isn’t all bad, these things also contribute to my ability to think outside the box and find solutions.

The problem is, there’s not enough time to do everything. I need to be more focused on the things I do well. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be learning new things. What it does means is that we need to be intentional about what we invest our time doing.

Focus is hard, especially when there’s no revenue.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how frustrating it is, to be doing something and not be achieving the expected results. This frustration increases when you’re sure it’s the thing you’re supposed to be doing. I’ve tried several different things to get my message out to construction companies and customers who desperately need it. CRICKETS

For years I’ve been faithfully writing and publishing Weekly Solutions. I estimate I’ve spent upwards of 2000 hours researching, writing, editing, publishing, etc. Even at a small hourly rate of $35/hour that comes up to $70,000.00. That’s a pretty big investment to have generated no revenue.

Another part of my farm upbringing was frugality. I don’t like spending money on things if I can’t see a clear return. This coupled with my “I can do this” attitude. I struggle with the idea of employing help. Looking at the numbers above, hiring would’ve probably had a better return on investment.

If I want things to change, I need to do something different.

The frustration led me to do several things different this year. I joined Kingdom Builders Mastermind hosted by Ray Edwards. In my cautious world this is a sizable investment. It’s been an investment worth every penny.

Through this group I’ve become connected with others who have experience and skills that I don’t. One such person is StoryBrand Certified Guide, Bryan Switalski with Clarity Consulting. We discussed the possibilities that could be achieved in my hiring him to help me with my digital marketing, clarifying my message and getting that message to those who need it.

My naivete with the digital marketing world is evident when you consider the amount of time invested and lack of accomplishment. I was a little unsure of moving forward with this due to the cost. We discussed options and ways to break the big project into smaller ones.

After looking at the cost of the time I had invested, considering what other things I could have been doing with that time it looks like a good investment to me. Oh, not to mention earlier posts I wrote about this very thing as it relates to construction and the value of a professional and whether or not to hire. I really should take my own advice.

So, if I don’t want to be considered insane, I need to make some changes.

Bryan and I are meeting next week to get started. There are some new and exciting things coming. Something that would be helpful is if you or any contractors you know would share with us your “construction proposal frustrations” in the comments below.


What is “Construction Clarity” and How Do I Find It?

Lack of Understanding is a Sure Way to Ruin a Construction Dream

It was Saturday morning and Jane was cutting some cloth for the dress she was making for her niece, when there was a knock at the door. She was surprised to find her friend and neighbor Connie when she answered it.

Connie said, “I was just out for a walk and thought I would stop by to see how things were going.” Jane had just made a pot of coffee, so she invited Connie in for a cup and a visit.

She offered Connie a chair at the table as she moved the material out of the way. As she brought the coffee to the table she said, “I sure wish I had a better place to do my sewing. The way it is now, I do my measuring, cutting and pinning here at the dining table. Then I carry it all downstairs to the sewing machine.”

“It sure would be nice if I had a separate room here on the main floor where I could do it all. For years I’ve dreamed of having a sewing room added onto the house. I just don’t have a clue where to even start. Hey, you had a room added on a few years ago, maybe I should get your contactor’s info and check into it?”

“Oh”, Connie said, “I don’t know if having a room built on is such a good idea. That construction project was the worst experience of my life!”

“What do you mean,” asked Jane. “Like you”, said Connie, “We had this dream project in mind…it turned out to be a nightmare. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. The contractor we hired was the brother-in-law of someone my husband works with. I just wish we’d never done it.”

“What happened that made it so bad?”, Jane asked. Then Connie started in, “You name it, if it could go wrong, it did. We were excited when we first met with the contractor and discussed our ideas. We had this vision of our beautiful new master bathroom. Shortly after that the problems began.”

“It started with waiting and waiting to get a price. Then the bid we got was a short brief description with a price that seemed kind of high. My husband I talked it over, we really want this new bathroom, so we decided to go ahead. Then the real problems started.”

“There was little to no communication from the contractor, we never knew when or if he was going to be there working. We never knew what we were being billed for. He would ask us questions using terminology that we didn’t understand. There were tools and construction material scattered everywhere throughout the project. Sometimes he was gone for weeks and nothing was done. His last bill pushed the project over our planned budget by 30%”, he said “it was the additional work we had him do.”

“The worst part of the whole thing…the finished project wasn’t anything like what our dream had been.

Jane sat there for a few minutes with a puzzled look on her face. Then she looked up at Connie, “Wow, I never knew. Maybe you’re right. Maybe my sewing situation as it is, isn’t so bad after all.”

A few days later Jane went to a book club meeting at Lucy’s house. When she pulled up in the drive, she noticed the new addition to Lucy’s house. Jane immediately started feeling bad about what Lucy had to go through.

After Lucy invited her in, Jane said, “I’m sorry that you had to go through this terrible construction ordeal.” Lucy asked her what she was talking about. Jane replied, “I was visiting with a neighbor Saturday and she told me how terrible construction projects are.”

With a puzzled look on her face Lucy said,

“I’m not sure what hers was like, but this has been the best experience of my life!”

“It’s like watching my dream turn into reality. Would you like to see it?”, Lucy asked. “Sure,” said Jane. They went into the addition and Jane was amazed. From the outside she assumed it was finished, inside she could see that it wasn’t.

Jane asked, “I assume the construction crew has taken a break between processes and haven’t been here for a while?” “Why would you assume that?”, asked Lucy. Because, Jane said, “According to Connie, builder’s leave everything scattered around, and everything is clean and organized here.” Lucy said, “No, the crew was here today, and they’ll be back again tomorrow. It’s been like this every day.”

Now Jane was really confused. What was the difference between these two projects? Maybe this one would still turn out to be a bad experience before it’s finished.

“Who’s doing your project?”, asked Jane. Lucy answered, “Gene with XYZ Construction. He’s been great to work with.” Then Jane had an idea and thinking out loud, “I’ve been thinking about adding on a sewing room. Would you be willing to visit with me more about Gene and your project?”

“Sure”, answered Lucy, “They’re scheduled to be done in a few weeks. Let’s set a date and we can meet here. That will give you a chance to see the finished project.”

Jane was looking forward to meeting with Lucy and finding out more about Gene and XYZ Construction.

What is “Business Clarity” and How Do You Find It?

A Lack of Knowledge and Inexperience Threatens Your Dreams

Once again, John was alone at the office late on a Saturday night working to get at least one more proposal done, before going home. He had promised four different customers their proposals this week. If all goes well, he’ll have this second one finished before midnight.

As John crunches numbers hoping he hasn’t forgotten anything, he asks himself, “Why am I doing this? I could go to work for somebody else and make more money and work less hours. This sure isn’t how I pictured it five years ago when I started the company.”

“I had no idea that running my own business would be this hard!”

John rubs his eyes and stretches his back and thinks, “I must be doing something wrong. When I was working for Gene at XYZ Construction he made things look easy. I wonder what he was doing different.”

John has been working like crazy all week long. Between production help not showing up, materials not being delivered on time, cost overruns and computer issues…projects are behind schedule, he’s losing money and even if he works tomorrow he’s going to have to disappoint at least one of the customers waiting on a proposal.

“How am I ever going to turn this around?”

When John finishes the proposal and looks at the clock, it says 12:40. It’s already Sunday he thinks and he still needs to proofread it, print it and sign it. Something has got to change! “I’ve been leaving home early and getting home late all week. I haven’t even spoken with my wife for days. I’m calling Gene Monday to see how he did things.”

First thing Monday morning John called Gene. After a few minutes of catching up, John asked Gene the question that he couldn’t quit thinking about. “Gene, I’ve been working day and night trying to keep up. When I worked for you it seemed like you had everything figured out. You weren’t stressed and when things didn’t work out as planned. Your customers understood what to expect with their projects and were happy when they were finished. What am I doing wrong?”

That’s the question that almost every business owner asks themselves.

“Know this,” Gene said, “When I started my business, I was just like you. I struggled to keep up, worked too many hours, neglected my family, was mad at myself for letting down my customers, my family and myself. I kept asking myself that same question. What am I doing wrong?”

“By the time you were working for me, I had figured some things out. It’s amazing what you can learn when going to the “school of hard knocks”. Keep in mind this is the most common process but isn’t the most effective.”

“What really turned my business around was when I found out about Solution Building’s, Blueprint for Building a Better Business.”

Think about how much easier and better a construction project goes when you have a plan. The same thing is true for a business. A plan gives you direction, keeps everyone involved working together and improves the odds for a successful outcome.

“John, if this is something you would be interested in, I would recommend starting with the, ‘Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal’. This is the most important and most neglected part of construction communication. If you’d like I would be happy to meet with you and go through the process and answer any questions.”

“If you know of any other construction companies that you think could use some help doing proposals share this information with them and they can meet with us too.”

“There’s a lot more to the ‘Blueprint for Building a Better Business’, but starting out, you should focus on the proposal system. After you get this part implemented, we can discuss which part of the business blueprint system would be best for you next.” After talking with Gene, John thought, “I’m sure glad I made this call. For the first time in a long time I feel like there might be a light at the end of the tunnel that wasn’t an oncoming train.”